I was thin and loved my figure, I loved all of my parts actually, before I started my experience in motherhood, and truth be told, 31 years later, I have yet to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, or to the act of loving all of my parts. So unlike the movie stars, fashion models, and singers who manage to do bikini photo shoots nine weeks after giving birth, decades after giving birth I am still not back to anything remotely similar to my pre-baby body. No, I still carry too many pounds of baby weight even though my baby has been alive for more than three decades and is a mother herself. I am hardly happy about this but it is my reality. This time of year, pretty much every year, I think about the job I have done as a mother and all that has changed about me since becoming a mother. I also think about how I am still so far away from any of the wishes, dreams, and plans I had for my life. I am neither rueful nor complaining but simply addressing the thoughts I have, that despite my hard work and great efforts in all areas of my life, over all of this time, I never “got” to where I hoped I would be, physically, emotionally, professionally, or relationship status-ly. Other than achieving perfect grades in college, not one thing I set out to do worked out for me…and when I find myself falling into those patterns of thought, also known as NOT Looking On The Bright Side, or zoning in on what is not right, I have to pull back tightly and refocus…because so much IS right.
So today, this Mother’s Day morning, I am thinking about the weight of my heart…while I have not celebrated the number on the scale for more than 31 years, I am well aware of my blessings and the possibility that my heart might very well be the heaviest part of my body, it is THAT full. I have friends, many, who are sad today…some longed to be mothers and never were, some have lost their mothers, a few are mothers who have lost children…my heart is heavy for their sadness today while I rejoice in the weight of my own. Motherhood, mothers, mothering…all of those words carry so much different meaning to all of us, some so positive and celebratory, and for others, so dark and sad.
I suppose that motherhood is something many people wish for, dream of, and plan for and never achieve, so I guess I could, or should, feel lucky beyond measure, when I look at my life from that perspective. I have so much love inside of me and around me and near me that I could burst, but yet, my heart still grows. I feel that I get so much love every day out of this life, but more importantly I get to give it away as well… My heart seems to get bigger and stronger and fatter and heavier every year on this earth since that cold January morning when I became a mother. Hearts seem to stretch and expand and fill up in ways that are inexplicable, and perhaps can’t ever be proven by science, and yet, it is real, or at least it feels real.
When my granddaughters hug me it is like electricity zipping through me and I have said it too many times to count, that I had no idea there was that much love inside of me until they were here on this earth. When I read to them or they to me I feel a completeness and contentedness wash over me like a joyous fog. When my boyfriend and I laugh together or catch each other’s eye over a private shared thought it is like a spark in my belly, and when he smiles widely at me with those perfect teeth and happy eyes, I still get a tingle in my spine that goes through to the tips of my toes. When my daughter needs me to help her in some way, any way, and I manage to do so with speed and efficiency or without complaint, I feel something like Wonder Woman, and when we find ourselves chatting in the driveway and catching up and laughing together, it fills me up to overflowing that my daughter has become a treasured friend. When my mother and I talk and compare notes about a great deal or fantastic sale we stumbled upon, we so enjoy how frugal and practical we both seem to have become in our later years, or when we discuss a book we both loved or both loathed, or remember something happy or funny that happened long ago, it’s like getting a hug from the inside out…and I have grown to learn that all of those little things add up to a lot of weight.
There is nothing that I like about being so far from those numbers on the scale that actually make me happy, but honestly it seems that drinking wine, having half & half in my coffee, enjoying diner breakfasts with my grandchildren, and going out on dinner dates with my boyfriend make me happier, or I would clearly make different choices. There is nothing that I like about extra weight that I don’t want to keep carrying around in the next chapter of my life, or the 11 pair of jeans that I keep but still can’t wear, BUT when I think about how much of that weight might just be my heart, I feel so filled with light…and that isn’t heavy at all.